Monday, November 12, 2012

Hemingway's Book Idea Began On Seaplane Ramp

Nina Mertz at the Chicago Tribune reports Paul Hendrickson receiving her newspaper's Heartland Prize For Nonfiction for his fine book Hemingway's Boat.

My theory on book-writing," said author Paul Hendrickson, "is that we don't find our books — they find us."

In town this weekend to receive the 2012 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction for "Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost," Hendrickson discussed what inspired him to tackle the Ernest Hemingway legend from a slightly new angle — specifically, that of the author's beloved fishing boat Pilar, which played such an integral role in "Papa's" Cuban period.

It was a random encounter during a 1980 vacation getaway that planted the first seeds, Hendrickson said. He and his wife were on their way to the Bahamas. "We were on the seaplane ramp," he told the Tribune's Rick Kogan on Sunday at the Harold Washington Library (as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival), "and we saw this broad-shouldered man with a full beard who was a dead ringer for Hemingway. Obviously, Hemingway died in 1961, so it wasn't him. But I was pretty sure it was his kid brother, Leicester. He took the seat directly ahead of us on the plane, so I tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'You, sir, wouldn't happen to be …"
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